Category Archives: Sewing

Are They Craft Worthy?

One of the reasons that I love quilting or knitting or crocheting is because you can personalize a gift for someone.  The colors, the patterns, the design, the function, and the sentiment, just to name a few of the options a crafter has.  Even though it is agonizing, I love sifting through patterns to find just the right design for a new born quilt for a dear friend and then picking a color palette that will be just right.  Time seems to stand still on those projects because everything has to be perfect and hold up well.  Mistakes that normally I might let slip if it stays with me, I correct as I would die if a recipient told me the quilt or other project didn’t hold up.

I’m sure we have all been so excited to present a crafted gift to someone to only have them not appreciate it, and all excitement and pride (the good kind) is sucked right out of you.  Now appreciate isn’t exactly the right word, but we’ve probably all encountered that giftee who has taken the gift, looked at it, forced a smile, uttered the words thank you, and put it off to the side.  Its not that I want them to marvel over the craftsmanship, investigate each stitch, or ohhh and ahhh at the color choice.  I simply hope that they would look at the item and know that it took many long hours, hours that I maybe should have been cleaning my house or cooking meals or sleeping.  With each hour I worked on the project I was thinking about them, and I hope they could see that.  I would hope that they may USE the item and it wouldn’t stay in the bottom of the purse where it went when they got it.  The hope would also be that it would stay with them and not be re-gifted to someone else, or thrown out.

Recently, I’ve taken QUITE A FEW knitting classes, don’t worry I am still quilting, and at the last two there has been a discussion about people being knit worthy.  We’ve all went around the room sharing times when gifts have been stuffed in purses without a care that those blasted cables took forever, or kept in a drawer, or asked if it could be redone in a different color, or given to the giftee’s best friend.  I started to really think of this, as I know there are people who are not quilt worthy.  The people, I’m sorry to say, would be gifted with something else rather than a quilt that took 30 hours.

I have a BFF who came back to work after a maternity leave and I wanted to make her a little something to welcome her back.  After much planning and thinking, a pineapple mini quilt was decided, after all, she loves pineapples and she complained that her classroom walls were bare.  The morning of her return I dropped it off, she opened it up, a big smile came across her face and she immediately put it on her wall by her desk.  SHE IS CRAFT WORTHY!

Once I made a gift for someone.  A lap quilt.  They opened it, I was so proud of it as it was an earlier work, and she faked a smile and put it aside.  A year later I saw that quilt at her friend’s place.  NOT CRAFT WORTHY!

Now, before I continue.  I will admit that at time ALL OF US are not craft worthy.  Well I know I have not been all the time.  Perhaps a great aunt made you an itchy scarf that you disliked wearing?  Or the sweater with a bunny and pompom as a tail when you were 14? But now I know what it took to make that, and the pride they would have had, and how they took time to make something JUST FOR ME.  My tune has changed.

Perhaps you are like me and have a little list in your head that you now go through of people who you may craft for.

For example – CRAFT WORTHY:

  • Have a past of using the crafted item been given to them
  • Supported your craft by asking about it or taking an interest in it
  • Have NOT said that your blog is dumb and why waste time on your hobbies
  • Will not give it away as a white elephant gift
  • Will take an interest in what would be given to them

How about you?  Do you have a CRAFT WORTHY list?

 

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Filed under Knitting, Quilting, Sewing

Baby Toy Tethers

Ella and I like to take little adventures in and around the city.  We go for walks with our friends Chris and her little girl M, to the mall, movies, and coffee dates with Lauren and Mr. H.  One thing I’ve learned along the way is if toys, soothers, and bottles aren’t tied down they can be thrown out of the stroller, dropped on the floor, or lost somewhere. Some of the toys are expensive too.  Sophie the Giraffe, is one of the best toys for a little one, in my opinion and is one of Ella’s go to toys.  But it is expensive ranging anywhere from $25-30, depending where you purchase it from, but again one of the best toys ever.  We take Sophie with us almost everywhere we go and it would be awful if it somehow got lost.  Little M lost hers in the farmers market.  I didn’t want that to happen to Ella so I constructed some toy tethers.

I made a couple different versions  of the tether.  Some with suspender clips to be able to clip to the stroller, car seat walls or clothing.  I also made some with a chord at both ends as my stroller has these little loops on the seat that we could attach toys too.  I also thought these ones would be good for restaurants because you could loop them to the chairs or the high chairs they sometimes provide.

We tried them the other day when we hit the mall and thank goodness we did.  As we were talking I saw Sophie fly out the stroller, but luckily just dangled from the side until I was ready to pick her back up and give her back to Ella.

The next problem, just making sure I pack them in the bag when we head out.

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Filed under Baby Girl, Sewing

Crafting is a Sport

How many of you have heard something to the affect of, “Oh, you are JUST crafting, well I am ___________ (insert sport/athletic event/physical activity).”  Trying to make you feel as though you are doing something, well,  below what they are doing?  Well I have.  And I am here to set the record straight.

CRAFTING IS A SPORT. 

Myself, I am a quilter/sewist/a new crocheter.  I have dabbled in jewellery making, knitting and done some serious scrap booking, but I take my quilting/sewing and crocheting seriously right now so my examples will be based on them.

As I said CRAFTING is a SPORT.  According to the dictionary the definition of a sport is

“an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment.”

Well come on people, crafting totally involves skill.  You’ve seen people’s quilts and think, “how did they get the points so perfect,” or “look at that free motion quilting,” or “really? that is hand quilted”.  Or people’s crocheted works – I still marvel after the crocheted Sheldon Cooper  I saw.  Those all takes skill.  What about  people who make beautiful jewellery?  Or scrapbook pages?  My friend Michelle and Paula are amazing knitters – AH.MAZE.ING.  Painting, clothing making, it all takes skill.

Ok, next part of the definition….competes against each other.  Every guild/club/studio has competitions, if it is viewer’s choice, or meeting a club challenge, or being entered into juried shows where there is a prize – even if it is just bragging rights.    I know ladies who stay up until 3-4am to make sure they have something to enter for the competitions.  There is competition.  And like sports you congratulated the winner and shake their hand, but in your own mind you are totally thinking how the victory should have been YOURS!

Physical exertion?  Have you ever hauled around a king sized quilt with about 1000 safety pins in a domestic sewing machine with only 6-7″ throat space between your needle and the machine?  Then you know all about physical exertion.  Aching shoulders, tired arms, tension across your neck for hours on end- physical exertion.   What about basting that king size quilt?  Huddled over it, feet getting sore, back aching, fingers past the point of no return then you have felt the burn.  Or the tension in your wrist from cutting out little paper flowers for scrap booking and all the glueing.

What about injuries?  They are totally in crafting as well.  There is blood from needles being stabbed in your fingers, or pins when it comes to basting.  There are scissor mishaps too.  I’ve seen people get attacked by their sewing machine needles when one breaks or when it runs over their finger.  There has also been those dreadful pictures of a misguided rotary cutter and fingers….oh I shudder just thinking about that and all those stitches.  And I’ll be honest with you, I think I just caused myself tennis elbow from all the crocheting and hand stitching I’ve been doing.  And what will I do to fix it?  Maybe a brace, a regiment of icing and physio?  Will I stop?  NO WAY!  Because if Peyton Manning (Denver Broncos) can play through his injuries and still win – then so can I.

CRAFTING IS A SPORT, plain and simple!

 

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Filed under Crochet, Everyday Life, Quilting, Sewing

Crabapple Hill: Sunflower Stitch Folder

I’m a HUGE FAN of Crabapple Hill Studio’s embroidery patterns.  The patterns are well written, the illustrations are spectacular and they are super duper fun to do.  I’ve done the Vintage Postcard.

And Hocus Pocus Ville – though with a different setting

Right now I have two in my UFO bucket that call my name.  I’ve read the patterns over and over again that I think I could do them from memory, but I haven’t been brave enough to try.  You see they use the color tinting technique and I find it intimidating so in the bucket they continue to sit.  The patterns I have, the Calendula Patterdrip’s Cottage and Spellbound  and as you can see they are not small by any means.

They’ve sat long enough but I thought I would ease my way into the color tinting technique by trying something small first.  In October they released a new pattern, Sunflower Stitch Folder , and Out of Hand carried it so I picked it up as my start – something small to get my feet wet.

It is a stitchery folder, a place to keep your pattern, hoop and stitching fabric, floss and scissors.

I’ve been working on it for a little bit now and I am happy to say it is complete.

It measures about 30″ x 11.5″ so it is a good size – it will even fit the larger Crabapple Hill Patterns.

It folds up into a nice sized folder that gives you 3 pockets to place all your stuff.  For a while I was contemplating not putting the elastic and button on but I was concerned with losing my supplies – as I’ve recently had some floss go MIA.

The pattern used back stitches, fly stitches, french knots, cross stitches, circular blanket stitch and a cast on stitch for the forget me nots which I hadn’t done before.

But seriously, lets talk the color tinting.  I LOVED IT.  I’ve always enjoyed coloring, I think I could color all day.  I even enter the coloring contests at school.  Anyways, I loved this technique so much.  I found, for myself, I liked the look if I colored in small circles, just the way my mom taught me, it gave it a smoother look.

One thing I did learn was you need to color darkly because after it is heat set you lose some of the brightness.  When I was coloring I thought, “oh my this is sure going to be very bright, I better color lighlty”.

The picture below if before the heat setting.

This is after the heat setting.  A definite difference for sure.  Though I did like how it softened the lace detail, but I was sad to see how it faded my little purple flowers and how my sunflowers didn’t pop as much.  Lessoned learned for the next color tinting quilt.

The 3D flowers are the cast on stitch.  It sure was neat to try, though I don’t know how they fit 5 petals in.

If you haven’t tried color tinting and embroidery – you should give it a try.  It is amazing.  I’m already working on my next piece.

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Filed under Quilting, Sewing, Stitchery, Uncategorized

Christmas Stockings

For almost seven years Nate has been complaining about my Christmas stocking.  I wouldn’t say it is the largest I have ever seen, but compared to Nate’s it is a touch bigger – a touch.  He says it is too big and hard to fill – hence why in years past I’ve received a full box of crackers.

We are quickly approaching our first Christmas with our little girl and she needed a stocking.  I had seen a pattern made by Thimble Blossom called Merry.  I liked the look of them and the fun patterns that you could pick from.

I headed out to the fabric store back in October? maybe even September and picked out fabric for all of us, as we figured it was time to all have new stockings.

They turned out pretty well.  Though I did have a few challenges.  The cuff for one was a touch tricky.  When I first made it I used a 1/4″ seam allowance but no matter how I tried to attach it – it was too big for the main body.  So I made a few alterations so that I wouldn’t have a weird fold in the back.   I probably tried the cuff on my first one about 5 times.  And getting the shape of the toe just right was also something I found to be tricky.

The chevron is Nate’s, Ella’s is in the middle and mine is on right.  I think they will be good and easy to fill – you’re welcome Nate. 🙂

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Filed under Quilting, Sewing

Thread Catchers

As you may know I enjoy hand stitching/embroidery.  I enjoy it while watching….strike that….listening to the tv (I can’t look up from the stitching yet.  Though I don’t know if anyone can), watching a movie or just chatting with Nate.  The problem with my hand work, embroidery, binding a quilt, or clipping the threads from the quilt is that the thread usually ends up on the floor.  Even though I stack it into a little pile – some how a couple of rouge pieces get free and stick to the carpet equaling another vacuuming job (yuck!).

I’ve been pinning some thread catchers for a while and just haven’t bitten the bullet to make one.  Until recently.  I was reading the latest Better Home and Garden “Quilts and More” magazine and saw that Rachel over at PS i Quilt had made some and by going over to allpeoplequilt.com you could obtain the pattern.  Finally it was my chance to solve the thread on the carpet problem.

It says that you are able to make 2 thread catchers with the 2 fat quarters plus a bit of scrap.  I actually made 3 using 3 fat quarters and there were scraps to spare.

It was a simple little project that really took no time at all.  In fact I did it during Ella’s morning nap so I felt pretty good that I actually finished them.

Now I can leave one at home and use it for my sofa sewing and put one in my sewing basket for when I travel.  And the last one I’m going to give to a friend who often complains about threads on her carpet too.  Hope she likes it.  I can’t wait to make more.  They would make great gifts for my sewing friends.

Here is a little song Nate made up about the thread catchers to the tune of “Three Blind Mice.”

“three little thread catchers, three little thread catchers, see how they stand, see how they stand.  They catch the thread like there is no tomorrow so it doesn’t get on the carpet anymore  Three little thread catchers.”

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Filed under Everyday Life, Quilting, Sewing, Stitchery

Life is Beautiful – Complete!

I have finally completed my Life is Beautiful Quilt.  After 2 years in the making this quilt is finally complete and I couldn’t be happier.  It has been an up and down journey with this quilt (that you can read about here) and now that it is over I am a touch sad to see it go.

I enjoyed stitching these little blocks with their fun designs and their wonderful sayings.

This is BY FAR my favourite block.  It used back stitch, feather stitch, blanket stitch, cross stitch and french knots.  I also think that the stitching on this quilt is some of my very best.  I don’t know why at all.

As I mentioned before this was a BOM put on by my friend Valerie at Pastimes Online.  It is a different colour way than the original and a scheme that I would not normally use – though I really like the way it turned out in the end.

At first I wasn’t sure how I felt about the three different colors of silk that was used as the stitching background.  The first blocks we got were in the cappuccino color and because I like structure and uniformity I just wasn’t sure.  I even contemplated purchasing extra cappuccino silk so I could keep it consistant.  But then I saw how the floss stood out on the white and thought it would work – lost a lot of sleep over nothing it seems (don’t comment Nate).

I enjoyed stitching on the silk and have done it many times after this originally started.  Though the darker the silk the harder it is to see through on a light box to trace.  I found myself retracing the shapes in a thick sharpie just to see them.  The other issue with the silk I found was the grain.  If I had the grain going left to right my silk stayed nice and flat.  If I had the grain go up and down, my stitching pulled the fabric and caused bunches.  Also the pen bleeds a touch – annoying to say the least.

Something else that I found frustrating about this quilt was the Quilt as you Go (QAYG) method that was used.

These were the 63 quilt blocks.  They have been pieced, basted and quilted and then joined together.  To do that you have to add strips to one side, front and back, then attach them to the other block and hand stitch the back.  Do you follow that at all?  I sure didn’t. I hunted around trying to find either a video or a picture tutorial on how to do it.  Luckily, Valerie made a video that was a life saver.  Once I started putting these blocks together I realized I  didn’t enjoy this type of QAYG at all – which slowed me down for sure.

Quilt Deets:

Pattern name: Life is Beautiful by Hugs N’ Kisses
Size: 58″ x 77″
Fabrics: Silk in Cappuccino, Butter and White.  Fabrics from the Lilac Parade Collection

This is a huge accomplishment for me and I am so excited to be done.  And UFO I can cross off the list – now onto the rest of them.

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Filed under BOM, Everyday Life, Quilting, Sewing, Stitchery